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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 19, 2017

Iowa State/Campos aided Garcia’s switch

Aug 22, 2017

By Dylan Montz, Gazette Correspondant

 

AMES — There isn’t a meeting Jake Campos enters without his notebook.

The habit of writing anything and everything down started when he was in his freshman season with the Iowa State football team, but it expanded through the years. It became a blueprint on how to tweak his form, learn a new technique and was even used as a personal motivation tool.

It’s a timeline of his past, both good and bad. There are more notebooks than he can count.

“We roll through them pretty quick,” Campos said. “I’m filling them up all the time and I’ve saved every one since freshman year. I’ve got a good little stash going.

“Whenever I go clean out my room I’ll usually find one or two and go look at it to see what was going on.”

Each notebook provides a glimpse into Campos’ career, which has been anything but typical. After redshirting his first season in 2013, the 6-foot-8 and 300-pound West Des Moines native started the last 11 games on the offensive line as a redshirt freshman, eight of which were at left tackle.

Playing a position like left tackle, particularly as a 19-year-old, is daunting, but Campos used that year as a springboard into 2015 and helped the Cyclones average 182 rushing yards per game. Then early in fall camp of his junior season, a broken leg sidelined him for the year.

All last season, Campos had to transition to a role as an off-the-field beacon of knowledge. His teammates were going to need him, in good times and adversity, and Campos had to be there.

“There was nothing I could do physically and that was really hard for me,” Campos said. “But trying tstep up and be a coach to the young guys and talk them through a lot of things that I’d experienced before on the field, that was a big thing. Now trying to bring that while being on the field.”

Even as he gifted the knowledge he gained in his first three seasons, Campos spent a lot of time observing his coaches, particularly offensive coordinator and line coach Tom Manning. Campos spent time on the headset and listened to audibles and other intricate components of an offense. It was a perspective that can help him make another leap.

“To get a guy like Jake Campos back that’s lived and breathed Big 12 football games and understands and has actually kind of led the way and actually said, ‘Follow me’ (is big),” Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell said. “That’s big to have and I think that’s helped the guys like Bryce Meeker and Julian Good-Jones.”

“He’s a great teacher to the young guys if you’re ever out at practice and you watch him move around,” Manning said. “It’s always, from Jake’s standpoint, ‘How can I help this guy?’ A lot of guys he’s helping are guys that probably, as a young offensive lineman, probably won’t play in his time here. I think it speaks volumes of what he is and who he is.”

Campos’ versatility is an asset that Manning is trying to achieve with his other, younger players, too. Campos has spent time at left and right tackle — although he feels more at home on the left side — and has tried to bring along redshirt freshman Sean Foster, who is another big body at 6-foot-8 and 304 pounds.

One of Campos’ other tasks was helping senior Robby Garcia, who moved from defensive line to offensive line after the third game last season. Garcia, 6-foot-3 and 290 pounds, hadn’t played on offense since high school — he moved up and down the line that season — and had to pick up a new offense after just learning a new defense.

Luckily, his roommate was, and still is, Jake Campos. Garcia was slotted as the starting left guard heading into fall camp. Good-Jones and Meeker, both redshirt sophomores, are listed as starters at center and right tackle, respectively, while junior Oge Udeogu is at right guard.

“To have (Campos) as a roommate, who better to have?” Garcia said. “I can talk to him and ask questions and look up to him for guidance and stuff. It was good to have him.”

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